You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

7 Acne Scar Treatments That Actually Work logo 2/2/2018 Sally Kaplan participates in various affiliate marketing programs, which means we may get paid commissions on editorially chosen products purchased through our links to retailer sites.

Dark marks and scars can affect your complexion long after acne fades. Severe acne scars can be difficult to treat with over-the-counter options, but more common hyperpigmentation and red scars can be treated (and prevented) with readily available creams, peels, and spot-treatments - if you know what you're looking for.

We chatted with Dr. Joyce Imahiyerobo-Ip, Director of Cosmetic Dermatology at South Shore Medical Center in Massachusetts, about her picks for the products that can actually help.

Learn More About Our Expert Dermatologist's Picks:

1. HydroPeptide LumaPro-C Skin Brightening Pigment Corrector

Best for Correcting Hyper-Pigmentation

hydropeptide lumapro-c © HydroPeptide hydropeptide lumapro-c

Buy Now

Bottom Line: LumaPro-C\'s cocktail of antioxidants, resveratrol, and vitamin C can speed up the fading of dark spots.

Hyperpigmentation is one of the most common types of acne scarring - especially for those with darker skin. The brown spots, which are caused by an excess of melanin, usually disappear with time. However, more stubborn spots can respond to topical treatments, particularly when used in combination with sunscreen.

Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip suggests using this skin brighter in conjunction with a high SPF sunscreen that won't clog pores (see below for her favorite pick). This LumaPro-C correcting serum features a blend of ingredients like vitamin C and resveratrol, which can lighten dark spots. It's also formulated with peptides, which can reduce damage caused by acne and UV rays by increasing collagen production.

Learn More

2. bioCorneum Plus SPF30 Advanced Scar Supervision

Best for Raised Scars

biocorneum liquid silicone © BioCorneum biocorneum liquid silicone

Buy Now

Bottom Line: Over time, this liquid silicone bandage can stifle the growth of raised scars.

Keloids, or hypertrophic scars, are raised above the skin, and they can be difficult to treat. Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip explains that these types of scars "occur when the body makes too much collagen during the wound healing process," an issue that can be mitigated with the use of silicone dressings.

The silicone "puts pressure on the scar as it is healing, making it hard for excessive collagen to form." These dressings can be purchased in the form of small sheets or as a liquid application, and they should be placed on scars every night for several months for optimal results.

Learn More

3. Avene Mineral Ultra-Light Hydrating Sunscreen SPF 50

Best for Prevention

avene sunscreen © Avene avene sunscreen

Buy Now

Bottom Line: High SPF sunscreen is key to minimizing hyperpigmentation.

While the very best way to prevent acne scarring is to treat the underlying acne itself, another way to keep things from getting worse is to use a high-SPF sunscreen that won't clog your pores. Sunscreen can actually prevent hyperpigmentation from getting worse.

"When I am dealing with hyperpigmented acne scars, I always wear SPF 50, rain or shine," Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip says. This particular formula by Avene is her favorite because it's noncomedogenic and ultra light.

Learn More

4. Clinique Acne Solutions Clearing Concealer

Best Concealer for Red Scars

clinique acne solution concealer © Clinique clinique acne solution concealer

Buy Now

Bottom Line: Green tinted concealer neutralizes red and pink scars .

"Red acne scars occur because of excess blood-vessel proliferation when the skin is healing after injury," Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip tells us. Sunscreen is vital to preventing these scars from worsening, because excessive exposure to the sun can actually lengthen the vascular healing phase of a scar. However, a quick solution to balancing out red marks and scars is using a concealer that's tinted green.

This medicated concealer by Clinique is also excellent for general acne, as the moderate blend of salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can calm aggravated areas without drying out the skin.

Learn More

5. ORA Microneedle Face Roller

Best for Sunken Acne Scars

a close up of a device: ORA microneedling tool © ORA ORA microneedling tool

Buy Now

Bottom Line: Microneedling can stimulate collagen production and even out irregularities from sunken acne scars.

Sunken scars (also known as "ice-picked" scars) can be difficult to treat. If you're dealing with severe divots, you can opt for injectable fillers administered by a trained professional, or check out other forms of treatments, like laser resurfacing or microdermabrasion. For an OTC approach, a microneedle face r0ller can be helpful in stimulating the production of collagen and evening out your skin when used a few times a week.

Make sure to get one that's been properly sterilized and packaged, and only go for reputable brands like ORA. Because these facial rollers have micro-sized needles that gently pierce the skin (don't worry, it's not painful!), it's important to follow instructions about how to properly clean and sanitize them between uses.


More of Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip's Picks:

6. Envy Medical Lumixyl Brightening Cream

Great Cream for Correcting Hyperpigmentation

envy medical cream © Envy Medical envy medical cream

Buy Now

Bottom Line: This brightening cream is a less expensive (but still very effective) alternative to the HydroPeptide LumaPro-C.

Brightening cream is a more long-term solution to hyperpigmentation, and it should always be combined with high-SPF sunscreen. This pick from Envy Medical is another favorite of Dr. Imahiyerobo-Ip, and it provides a more affordable alternative to the LumaPro-C formula from HydroPeptide.


7. HydroPeptide 5X Power Peel

Best Peel for Correcting Hyperpigmentation

a close up of a piece of paper: HydroPeptide power peel © HydroPeptide HydroPeptide power peel

Buy Now

Bottom Line: For a more intensive approach to hyperpigmentation reduction, use this peel in combination with sunscreen.

Peels are another great choice for hyperpigmentation, providing a super concentrated formula that exfoliates the skin and enhances cell turnover. The alpha hydroxy acids in the 5x Power Peel help to get rid of impurities in the skin, which can prevent acne in the first place, and there are also mushroom enzymes, which aid in the skin's rejuvenation process. This can help to get rid of your dark spots over time, particularly when combined with SPF 50 or higher.

Learn More

Pin It for Later!

a close up of a device: acne scar treatments © . acne scar treatments


The Best Hydrating Eye Creams for a Rejuvenating Routine

15 Amazing Sheet Masks for Your Next At-Home Spa Night

Do Jade Rollers Really Work?

Follow on Facebook and Pinterest for all the latest products, so you can find the item that's perfect for you (at the right price)!

We spoke with a dermatologist about the best products out there to help treat acne scars.: 7 Acne Scar Treatments That Actually Work © HydroPeptide 7 Acne Scar Treatments That Actually Work

More From


image beaconimage beaconimage beacon